The CEO of Back.
Carl Ferrer was arrested in Houston after he arrived on a flight from Amsterdam; dozens of law enforcement officers then searched Back's Dallas headquarters, the Texas attorney general's office says. Ferrer, 55, is charged with pimping a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping. Two controlling shareholders of Back — Michael Lacey and James Larkin — also are charged with conspiracy to commit pimping.
Back was started by Village Voice Media and is now owned by a Dutch company. The site allows users to post a variety of classifiedbut has come under scrutiny for its "adult entertainment" section, which includes escort. Back has continued to host those after other sites — including, most notably, Craigslist — shut down their adult sections.
The California Department of Justice spent three years investigating Back, including with undercover agents postingto confirm that the escorts were for the sole purpose of buying and selling sex. California's attorney general, Kamala Harris, says that Back was "purposefully and unlawfully deed" as an online brothel.
Her office alleges that the "vast majority" of Back's profits come from fees paid by users posting in the "adult" section. The investigation was prompted, in part, by reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of thousands of instances of child sex trafficking through Back.
No trafficking charges were announced against Ferrer, Lacey or Larkin on Thursday, but the attorney general's office says the investigation "found that many of the for prostitution services involved victims of sex trafficking, including children under the age of Harris, who is currently running for U.
Senate, called profiting off trafficking and exploitation "outrageous, despicable and illegal. She used other online advertising services until they were shut down, the court filing says, when she turned to Back.
Separately, U. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced this week that 17 people have been charged with running an international sex-trafficking ring that imported women from Thailand and forced them into the sex trade. The indictment alleges that the traffickers advertised the women on websites including Back.
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